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Art History > Art Trivia of the Day (March - May)

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message 1: by Heather (new)

Heather Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan “Piet Mondrian”, Dutch Neo~Plasticist painter born on 07 March 1872.

Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue (1942)

Mondrian carried abstraction to its furthest limits. Through radical simplification of composition and color, he sought to expose the basic principles that underlie all appearances.

Born in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, Mondrian embarked on an artistic career over his family's objections, studying at the Amsterdam Academy of Fine Arts. His early works, through 1907, were calm landscapes painted in delicate grays, mauves, and dark greens. In 1908, under the influence of the Dutch painter Jan Toorop, he began to experiment with brighter colors; this represented the beginning of his attempts to transcend nature. Moving to Paris in 1911, Mondrian adopted a cubist-influenced style, producing analytical series such as Trees (1912-1913) and Scaffoldings (1912-1914). He moved progressively from seminaturalism through increased abstraction, arriving finally at a style in which he limited himself to small vertical and horizontal brushstrokes.

In 1917 Mondrian and the Dutch painter Theo van Doesburg founded De Stijl magazine, in which Mondrian developed his theories of a new art form he called neoplasticism. He maintained that art should not concern itself with reproducing images of real objects, but should express only the universal absolutes that underlie reality. He rejected all sensuous qualities of texture, surface, and color, reducing his palette to flat primary colors. His belief that a canvas a plane surface should contain only planar elements led to his abolition of all curved lines in favor of straight lines and right angles. His masterly application of these theories led to such works on Mondrian's Compositionas Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue (1942), in which the painting, composed solely of a few black lines and well-balanced blocks of color, creates a monumental effect out of all proportion to its carefully limited means.

When Mondrian moved to New York City in 1940, his style became freer and more rhythmic, and he abandoned severe black lines in favor of lively chain-link patterns of bright colors, particularly notable in his last complete masterwork, Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1943). Mondrian was one of the most influential 20th-century artists. His theories of abstraction and simplification not only altered the course of painting but also exerted a profound influence on architecture, industrial design, and the graphic arts. Mondrian died in New York 01 February 1944.

message 2: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 20 comments And fashion - esp. Yves St Laurent

message 3: by Heather (new)

Heather 8 March in History

Born on 08 March 1843: Ernest-Ange Duez, French painter.

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One of his earliest paintings, The Honeymoon (1873), caused a scandal at the Salon owing to its depiction of two lovers in modern dress walking through a sunlit forest.

Born on 08 March 1495: Giovanni Battista di Jacopo Rosso Fiorentino, in Florence, Italian painter and decorator.
His early works helped define the first phase of Mannerism.

A more developed Mannerist style is exhibited in his Descent from the Cross (1521); its idiosyncratic modeling and perspective, violent colors, and harsh lighting produce the disturbing effect characteristic of much 16th-century Italian art.

Born on 08 March 1945: Anselm Kiefer, German painter, born in Donaueschingen, Baden-Wrttemburg, just months before the final European battle of World War II.
Kiefer devoted himself to investigating the interwoven patterns of German mythology and history and the way they contributed to the rise of Fascism. He confronted these issues by violating aesthetic taboos and resurrecting sublimated icons.

Resurrexit 1973

message 4: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Wow thanks Heather!
Happy birthday, Rosso!
Another redhead!

message 5: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments Milton Avery's birthday was March 7, 1885.

Haircut by the Sea

Avery's work is seminal to American abstract painting—while his work is clearly representational, it focuses on color relations and is not concerned with creating the illusion of depth as most conventional Western painting since the Renaissance has. Avery was often thought of as an American Matisse, especially because of his colorful and innovative landscape paintings. His poetic, bold and creative use of drawing and color set him apart from more conventional painting of his era. Early in his career his work was considered too radical for being too abstract; when Abstract Expressionism became dominant his work was overlooked, as being too representational. In the 1930s he was befriended by Adolph Gottlieb and Mark Rothko among many other artists living in New York City in the 1930s-40s.

message 6: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Good one, Carol.

message 7: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 20 comments So many born on the 8th. Cool. And I jad never heard of Kiefer before and I LOVE that painting

message 8: by Heather (new)

Heather Date of Birth~500 years ago: Jean Goujon (c.1510 – after 1572)

Fountain of the Innocents 1547–49. About life-size.

The foremost French sculptor of the 16th-c, probably born in Normandy, NW France. His finest work is a set of reliefs for the Fountain of the Innocents (1547–9, Louvre). He worked for a while at the Louvre in Paris, but his later career is obscure. He was a Huguenot, but seems to have died before the St Bartholomew massacre (1572).

His most famous works are the sculptural decorations made in collaboration with Lescot for the western extension of the Louvre, in the 1550s.

The purity and gracefulness of his style were disseminated throughout France by engravings by artists of the School of Fontainebleau and had an influence in the decorative arts.

Read more: Jean Goujon http://encyclopedia.stateuniversity.c...

message 9: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Thanks, Heather! I know Goujon was for everyone but you can't deny it was for me!

message 10: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Goujon Diana

message 11: by Heather (new)

Heather Edouard Manet went against traditional painting styles and gave rise to a movement that would become Impressionism. Who was the popular French academic painter that served as Manet's antithesis?

Bouguereau's style is best emphasized in his work called "Nymphs and Satyr" which was painted in 1873

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (November 30, 1825 – August 19, 1905) was a French academic painter. William Bouguereau (pronounced vill-yam boo-guh-roe) was a staunch traditionalist whose realistic genre paintings and mythological themes were modern interpretations of Classical subjects with a heavy emphasis on the female human body. Although he created an idealized world, his almost photo-realistic style was popular with rich art patrons. He was very famous in his time but today his subject matter and technique receive relatively little attention compared to the popularity of the Impressionists.

message 12: by Heather (new)

Heather What 17th century artist is best known for taking chiaroscuro to its most blatant, and some would argue most powerful, level by adding the image of a flickering candle directly into his paintings?

St Joseph, 1642, Louvre

Georges de La Tour painted mostly religious scenes lit by candlelight, and after centuries of posthumous obscurity became one of the most highly regarded of French 17th century artists in the 20th century.

message 13: by Heather (new)

Heather Died on a 19 March 1997:
Willem de Kooning, Dutch US painter

"De Kooning is one of the greatest Abstract Expressionist painters of the post-World War II period, his dominance rivaled perhaps only by Jackson Pollock. Remembered for his large canvases as well as the controversial melding of both abstract and figurative imagery, de Kooning lived much longer than his contemporaries, many of whom had untimely deaths."

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Untitled XII 1985
"A few tracings, mostly brown, on a white background with two small yellow areas. Why would anyone would pay $1'408'000 (at Sotheby's auction, 09 Nov 2004) for something that a kindergartner could have been painted in 10 minutes (but in a much smaller than de Kooning's ridiculously enormous format)?"

message 14: by Heather (new)

Heather Born on 21 March 1880: Hans Georg Albert Hofmann, Bavarian US Abstract Expressionist painter, teacher, and theorist, who died on 17 February 1966.

He moved with his family to Munich in 1886 and in 1896 left home to become assistant to the director of public works of the State of Bavaria; he distinguished himself with a number of inventions, including an electromagnetic comptometer, a radar device for ships, a sensitized light bulb and a portable freezer unit for military purposes. In spite of his parents strong objection and their hopes for his career as a scientist, in 1898 he enrolled in the art school run by Moritz Heymann [1870–:] in Munich. Hofmann subsequently studied with a succession of teachers and was particularly influenced by Willi Schwarz [1889–:], who familiarized him with French Impressionism.

Hofmann continued his art studies in Paris at the Académie Colarossi and at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and he met major artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Léger, and Robert Delaunay; he also came to know the influential German art dealers Richard Goetz and Wilhelm Uhde and the US collector Leo Stein.

Almost all the work produced by Hofmann in Paris was destroyed in World War I. He was visiting Germany when war was declared and was unable to return to France, but for health reasons he was pronounced unfit for service. To support himself he opened his own art school in 1915, the Hofmann Schule für Moderne Kunst, in Schwabing, the artists' district of Munich. He had relatively few students during the war, but as his fame spread after 1918 he attracted students from all over the world; among them were a number of artists who later achieved international prominence, including Alfred Jensen, Louise Nevelson, Helen Frankenthaler, and Wolfgang Paalen. Hofmann taught in Munich until the early 1930s and during these years drew copiously but had little time to paint. Only one painting of this time is known to have survived, a Cubist-derived still-life, Green Bottle (1921).

Hofmann's own art flowered after he closed down his school. His late paintings are characterized by the juxtaposition of strongly colored rectangles, e.g. in Pompeii (1959). These created the feeling of space because the human eye sees different colors as being at different distances from it. Hofmann termed this effect 'push and pull'. The paintings were often worked out by pinning rectangles of colored paper to the canvas. His work is a synthesis of Cubism, Fauvism, and geometric abstraction. He regularly evoked nature but was keen to respect the inherent differences between pictorial experiences and those of the natural world. He wrote: 'In nature, light creates color: in the picture, color creates light.'

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Pompeii 1959

— The students of Hofmann included Natalie Bachrach Baker, Maurice Berezov, James Billmyer, Jane Bolmeier, Harry Bowden, Rae Eames, Marisol Escobar, Helen Frankenthaler, James Gahagan, Red Grooms, Rose Hertzberg, Yvonne Housser, Alfred Julio Jensen, Wolf Kahn, Karl Kasten, Ida Kohlmeyer, Lee Krasner, Alfred Leavitt, Allen Leepa, John Loftus, Joan Mitchell, Albert Newbill, Louise Nevelson, Stephen Pace, Joseph Plaskett, Paul Resika, Edgar Arthur Rupprecht, Elijah Silverman, Max Spoerri, Glenn Wessels, David Wurtzel, among others.

message 15: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments Josef Albers was born on March 19, 1888. Most people think of his "Homage to the Square" silkscreens and are not impressed. I was fortunate to take a color class with one of his students (from Yale). It was a great class, totally changed how I looked at color. We had no book (Interaction of Color) -- just a big box of very expensive Coloraid paper and our professor's class notes.

Josef Albers, Study (for Homage to the Square), oil on blotting paper.

Josef Albers, Red and White, stained-glass window (destroyed) in antechamber of director's office executed by Albers for the first Bauhaus Exhibition Weimar, 1923

Josef Albers, Upward, 1926 (ca.) glass

message 16: by Heather (new)

Heather Those are great, Carol. I especially like the stained glass window. Personally, I prefer Josef Albers to, say, Mondrian (no offense anyone).

message 17: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments Juan Gris birthday was March 23, 1887.

Portrait of Picasso, 1912

message 18: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments William Morris birthday: March 24, 1834, English textile designer, artist, writer, socialist and Marxist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement.

message 19: by Heather (new)

Heather Thank you, Carol. I love his art!

message 20: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Way to go Carol! I knew his grea (great?) grand daughter another artist named Bachar short for baby Charlotte. I don't know if she's still with us

message 21: by Heather (new)


Vincent Willem van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its vivid colors and emotional impact. He suffered from anxiety and increasingly frequent bouts of mental illness throughout his life, and died largely unknown, at the age of 37, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Little appreciated during his lifetime, his fame grew in the years after his death. Today, he is widely regarded as one of history's greatest painters and an important contributor to the foundations of modern art. Van Gogh did not begin painting until his late twenties, and most of his best-known works were produced during his final two years. He produced more than 2,000 artworks, consisting of around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches. Although he was little known during his lifetime, his work was a strong influence on the Modernist art that followed. Today many of his pieces—including his numerous self portraits, landscapes, portraits and sunflowers—are among the world's most recognizable and expensive works of art.

Van Gogh spent his early adulthood working for a firm of art dealers and traveled between The Hague, London and Paris, after which he taught in England. An early vocational aspiration was to become a pastor and preach the gospel, and from 1879 he worked as a missionary in a mining region in Belgium. During this time he began to sketch people from the local community, and in 1885 painted his first major work The Potato Eaters. His palette at the time consisted mainly of sombre earth tones and showed no sign of the vivid coloration that distinguished his later work. In March 1886, he moved to Paris and discovered the French Impressionists. Later he moved to the south of France and was taken by the strong sunlight he found there. His work grew brighter in color and he developed the unique and highly recognizable style which became fully realized during his stay in Arles in 1888.

The extent to which his mental illness affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death. Despite a widespread tendency to romanticise his ill health, modern critics see an artist deeply frustrated by the inactivity and incoherence brought about by his bouts of sickness. According to art critic Robert Hughes, Van Gogh's late works show an artist at the height of his ability, completely in control and "longing for concision and grace".

message 22: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Wo, this one almost got away from us!

message 23: by Heather (new)

Heather Died on 31 March 1837: John Constable, English Romantic painter specialized in Landscapes, born on 11 June 1776, assistant to Claude Lorrain. Constable, with J.M.W. Turner, dominated English landscape painting in the 19th century. He is famous for his precise and loving paintings of the English countryside (e.g., The Hay-Wain, 1821)

which he sketched constantly from nature. After about 1828, he experimented with a freer and more colorful manner of painting (e.g., in Hadleigh Castle, 1829).

In England Constable had no real successor and the many imitators turned rather to the formal compositions than to the more direct sketches. In France, however, he was a major influence on Romantics such as Delacroix, on the painters of the Barbizon School, and ultimately on the Impressionists.

message 24: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments April 2, 1891 is Max Ernst’s birthday!

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Europe after the Rain, 1940-42, oil on canvas, The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Ernst's artwork above, begun in occupied France but was completed in New York where he had sought refuge from the Nazis, reflects his own bitter experience of war in Europe. (The story is that after Ernst started the painting, he rolled it up and mailed it to himself at the Guggenheim in NYC. He was arrested by the Germans and later escaped and fled to America with the help of Peggy Guggenheim, whom he married in 1942 (divorced in 1946.)

Ernst “painted” Europe after the Rain using a Surrealist technique called decalcomania, in which wet paint is pressed onto the canvas with a sheet of glass, paper, or another smooth surface. The abrupt removal of the glass from the canvas creates a unique texture. Ernst then painted the sky and various images over and around these blotted and splotchy forms. The evocative composition that resulted from this technique suggests a fantastic landscape in a state of decay.

To get a closer look at the “decalcomania”, visit

** Also Ernst is (I believe) the ONLY artist to depict Holy Mary and baby Jesus in a controversial way: his 1926 painting entitled "The Blessed Virgin Chastises the Infant Jesus Before Three Witnesses: A.B., P.E. and the Artist" is believed to be based on the apocryphal text of Thomas. The 3 witnesses are Andre Breton, Paul Eland and the artist himself.

message 25: by Heather (new)

Heather That is quite a story, Carol! I really like the 'decalcomania' technique. Interesting.

message 26: by Dvora (new)

Dvora I get the posts on digest and they don't always come regularly every 24 hours. This one just came. Anyway, It is good information and I am happy to wish Vincent a belated Happy Birthday. The world is a better place for his having been in it for those few years. I hope he can hear me.

Vincent Willem van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its ..."

message 27: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments Maurice de Vlaminck's birthdate was April 4, 1876 –

Tugboat on the Seine, Chatou, 1906, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art
< img src="" />

more info

message 28: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s birthday is April 5, 1732.

A student of Chardin, Boucher, and Carle Van Loo. Probably best known for:
The Swing, 1766, Wallace Collection, London.

The Progress of Love (3 paintings), 1771-73, at The Frick Collection.

This is my favorite . . .
< img src="" />
Young Girl Reading, c 1770, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art

Click on painting for details --

message 29: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments French photographer, caricaturist, journalist, novelist and balloonist Félix Nadar (Gaspard-Félix Tournachon) born April 6, 1820.
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Masters of Photography - Nadar (7:58 min)
interesting -- artists, writers, composers, his studio housed the first Impressionism exhibit, first to photograph Paris sewers with electric light

message 30: by Dvora (new)

Dvora I love this Vlaminck.
Carol wrote: "Maurice de Vlaminck's birthdate was April 4, 1876 –

Tugboat on the Seine, Chatou, 1906, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art

more info"

message 31: by Monica (last edited Apr 08, 2010 07:17PM) (new)

Monica | 909 comments Carol, your fave Fragonard isn't showing, I'll google though I think I love it, too.
Although it wasn't in Heather's post I was able to google Constable's Hadleigh Castle, 1829. Same with Dvora's Vlaminck.

message 32: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments I don't know why sometimes my images don't post>

I'll try again . . .
[image error]

message 33: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Oooh nice!
Young Woman Drawing, 1801
Marie-Denise Villers (French, 1774–1821)
Oil on canvas

Even though this is famous, it took 125 pages of google searches to find it! I could not remember the artist or title for the life of me, probably still won't after this search...found lots of nice images while searching, too!

message 34: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1942 comments For the most part, Rococo art is too wedding cakey for me. But that Fragonard is one of my all time favorites.

message 35: by Monica (last edited Apr 09, 2010 04:09PM) (new)

Monica | 909 comments Right, Ruth. I've never seen Carol's Fragonard before - it's a stunner. The pillowcase is lovely even online. The dress, too, even though it could be mistaken for a taxi cab. I'll overlook her pinky and overly pinched cheeks. Next time in DC I'll check it out!

message 36: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1942 comments It's the grace of the gesture that hooked me.

message 37: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments Ruth wrote: "It's the grace of the gesture that hooked me."

I agree with you Ruth. Personally I'm not a big fan of Rococo or even Fragonard's work but, to me, this painting doesn't look like his work.

In the museum we have works by Boucher, Tiepolo, Gainsborough, Chardin and Elisabeth Vigee-LeBrun. Many women visitors are drawn to their paintings which has led me to appreciate them through their perspective.

message 38: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Either that or arthritis.

message 39: by Dvora (new)

Dvora Carol, it was worth the wait. It is beautiful.
I'd like to thank all of you who have been posting the most wonderful images on this thread. I get them so late that I doesn't seem timely to remark on each one, but I really enjoy them.
Carol wrote: "I don't know why sometimes my images don't post>

I'll try again . . .

message 40: by Divvy (new)

Divvy | 70 comments The American photographer Imogen Cunningham was born on April 12, 1883. Although Cunningham was known for her commercial portraiture, floral studies and nudes (she caused a scandal when she published nude photos of her husband, etcher Roi Partridge, in a Seattle periodical in 1915,) it’s her still-life, The Unmade Bed that I love the most. I think it’s one of my favorite images.

Cunningham lived and worked in the Seattle area until her death in 1976. As an added point of interest to all the Wm Morris fans, “she produced a body of Pictorial, Symbolist works inspired by the poetry and prose of William Morris. These depict her friends dressed as mythical characters in bucolic settings.” (Source Groves Dictionary of Art.)

< img src="" />

The Unmade Bed, 1957.

message 41: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1942 comments Sexy photo.

message 42: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Cool info, Divvy. Was she a WPA photographer, too?

message 43: by Divvy (new)

Divvy | 70 comments Hey MMc,
As far as I can tell, she didn't work for the WPA. The bio I had at hand said she worked for Vanity Fair in the early '30s.

message 44: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Where did you see her William Morris photos? I'll try google. They're good but maybe this is too obscure. Not to me of course, they are of upmost importance!

message 45: by Monica (last edited Apr 12, 2010 06:06PM) (new)

Monica | 909 comments Here's a link of Imogen Cunningham thumbnails Obviously the rest of the world isn't as enlightened as we are. Having read W. Morris like mad back in the 80's I'd hoped his writing would be as interesting as his art. Wrong. I have a library of practically everything he wrote. Youth is wasted on the not so young. But, hey, someone here may enlighten me.

message 46: by Divvy (new)

Divvy | 70 comments Hey good research Monica. I looked for a book on her at home last night and was unable to find it. I also checked online databases at work for articles written on the Wm. Morris and couldn't find any.

message 47: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments Happy birthday to Leonardo da Vinci! (April 15, 1452)
< img src="" />
Burlington House Cartoon (Mary, Christ, St. Anne and the Infant St. John). 1499 (?).
Chalk on paper. National Gallery, London

message 48: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments WOW Carol You are on the JOB!

message 49: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments Thanks Monica, you made me laugh!

This is what happens when you are bed ridden & in a Lupus flare up . . . lots of time on the computer or reading. Unfortunately my trip to NYC this month will have to wait.

message 50: by Monica (last edited Apr 15, 2010 09:38AM) (new)

Monica | 909 comments Try to get there before the victorian cut-outs leave the Met on May 9th and you can see Bronzino's drawings, too.

Feel better!

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